Stoker’s Wilde is a new novel for Flame Tree Press, co-written by writing partners Melissa Prusi and Steven Hopstaken, that sees an unlikely adventuring party led by Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde battle dark forces firstly in Ireland and then in London, to prevent “a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell”. Here, Peter speaks to Melissa and Steven about the new book.
Readers of Sublime Horror will likely know novelist Michelle Paver best for her acclaimed ghost stories Dark Matter and Thin Air. Amongst her extensive oeuvre is also the bestselling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, consisting of six historical fantasy novels for children, to which three more books were recently announced. I had the pleasure of speaking to Michelle Paver about her latest book, Wakenhyrst, which is very much in the Gothic ghost story tradition, even more overtly Gothic than the previous two she has published. We spoke about the novel, the unusual elements that inspired it, as well as her love of ghost stories and the Gothic.
Helen Marshall is a World Fantasy Award-winning author. She has previously published two short story collections, Hair Side, Flesh Side and Gifts for the One Who Comes After, as well as two collections of poetry. The Migration is her first novel and it deftly combines horror, fantasy, and science fiction to tell an imaginative post-apocalyptic story. I spoke to Marshall about her new book, its themes and influences, the state of weird fiction, as well as her work as a creative writing teacher.
If you read my review of Kate Pullinger’s 1999 novel Weird Sister, you will know how much I enjoyed it and how relevant its ideas are today for the very same reasons that the study of witches and witchcraft remains as relevant as ever. Professor Marion Gibson’s reading list of witches in fiction introduced me to Weird Sister and the professor is also introducing the book to new generations of undergraduates as it features on a module she teaches at Exeter University; Pullinger says she gets students contacting her every year to ask questions for their essays. I spoke to Kate Pullinger about Weird Sister, her research into the Witches of Warboys, and her experiments with digital fiction.
Melissa Edmundson is a literary historian specialising in nineteenth and early twentieth-century British women writers, especially those who wrote supernatural fiction. Much of her work centres on re-discovering those writers who have been forgotten. Edmundson is the editor of a new collection of ghost stories by Victorian women called Avenging Angels, published by Victorian Secrets, an independent publisher dedicated to books about and from the nineteenth century.
Editor’s note: Katariina Kottonen’s excellent write-up of a talk between Peter Meinertzhagen and Professor Nick Groom from 2017 was originally published on Chance and Physics.
The description goes as such: a sleeping woman is draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down. An incubus is crouched upon her stomach. From the curtains in the background emerges a horse’s head with glowing eyes. The setting is rich in colour – dark reds, yellows and ochres – while the dreaming figure is brilliantly white. The painting is titled The Nightmare, but its explicit eroticism suggests other, more sensual interpretations.
Peter Meinertzhagen talks to Marion Gibson, professor of renaissance and magical literature at Exeter University, about witchcraft. Answering questions such as: how old is witchcraft? what defines “a witch”? and are there still witches today?
This is the first Sublime Horror podcast. There are a few audio glitches as I try and figure out the best way of recording remotely over Skype, so the quality isn’t as fantastic as I’d hope. But Marion is fascinating to listen to regardless and I hope you enjoy the conversation.
Catriona Ward is the author of two novels, Rawblood (from 2015) and Little Eve, which was published this summer. I first interviewed Ward on 4th February 2016 for the Oxford Writing Circle, in the dark and now sadly gone Albion Beatnik Bookstore; I even recorded a terrible quality video of the interview (thankfully Ward’s intelligence and wit is of a much higher standard). Here, I am publishing an edited transcript of that interview. Whilst much has moved on since we met in Oxford, this interview should at least provide some nostalgic interest.